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Focus on Automotive Interior Lighting

Dec 30, 2022      View: 243

The 2016 Chevrolet Camaro is the first vehicle on the market to feature a "dynamic ambient lighting" design. Also known as "Interior Spectrum Lighting," the Camaro lighting system offers 24 different lighting effects throughout the car's interior, including door panels, dashboards and even cup holders. Users can customize the lighting to emit different light colours depending on the scenario, for example, by associating the lighting with different driving modes (e.g., park and drive)

Later, at the 2017 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2017), Toyota presented the futuristic concept model Concept-I, which has an artificial intelligence (AI) assistant called Yui. The vehicle uses LED lights throughout the body and the interior, combined with auditory and haptic feedback for communicating with the driver and allowing for personalized settings for vehicle operation. For example, users can customize different light colors to illuminate the foot space to indicate whether the car is in manual or automatic driving mode.

Since then, automotive interior lighting has become an arena for continued innovation and creativity as automakers scramble to enhance the functionality, personalization and luxury of vehicle interiors with advanced displays and lighting concepts. With many vehicles competing fiercely for fuel efficiency, speed and safety, and performance being just one of the many factors users consider when purchasing, automotive interior lighting presents manufacturers with new opportunities for brand differentiation.


With advanced autonomous driving technology, interior lighting will play an increasingly important role in creating ambience, influencing passenger mood and providing entertainment. Research shows that "ambient lighting may affect driver mood, eye strain, circadian rhythms and concentration ...... ultimately impacting safety."

In 2009, BMW and the Lighting Engineering Group at Ilmenau University (Germany) conducted a landmark study. They examined how car interior lighting might affect driver mood and fatigue. The study found that "although ambient lighting is at the periphery of the driver's field of vision, it has some significant positive effects on spatial perception, vehicle interior attractiveness, safety, functionality and perceived vehicle interior quality."

Researchers found that.

  • Blue lighting is "brighter" than orange lighting for drivers, but orange lighting is considered more "comfortable.
  • Orange ambient lighting gives a sense of luxury and better quality perception.
  • The brighter the interior lighting, the more distracted the driver, will be.
  • Ambient lighting in a car can improve driving safety at night.
  • Interior lighting can add value to a vehicle by enhancing the perception of spaciousness and material quality.

In-vehicle Lighting Measurement and Quality Assurance

Because of the potential impact light sources can have on brand perception and purchase decisions (not to mention safety and vehicle functionality), manufacturers must measure each light source in a vehicle to ensure its effectiveness in the application. Ambient lighting and LED backlighting components must provide consistent brightness and chromaticity. They must be consistent from component to the component to reflect the vehicle's quality in terms of functionality and aesthetics.

A luminance measurement imaging system effectively measures the light sources installed in different vehicle locations. Such systems can collect millions of data points at once by capturing the complete light source or light source distribution in a single image to evaluate the luminance, chromaticity, colour temperature, illuminance, luminous intensity and dimensional quality of the light source output.

The luminance measurement imaging solution pairs Ryden Optical Systems' ProMetric? imaging luminance or colourimeter with TrueTest? software to quickly characterize and quality control light sources regardless of size, shape or distribution.

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